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HomeManipur‘Most illogical, controversial and biased’: Manipur BJP MLA Rajkumar Imo Singh demands...

‘Most illogical, controversial and biased’: Manipur BJP MLA Rajkumar Imo Singh demands amendment to land law

Manipur BJP MLA Rajkumar Imo Singh said Sunday all legislators in the state should come together to amend existing legislation which does not allow people from the state’s valley to buy land in its hill areas.

Imo Singh called for amending the Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms Act, 1960, which he called “one of the most illogical, controversial and biased laws ever enacted by Parliament”.

Imo Singh, who represents the Sagolband Assembly constituency, said the present is “perhaps the most important moment in the history of the people of our state” and that the state’s MLAs should “stand united” for a land law “which is equal for all citizens of the state”.

The state’s Meitei and Meitei Pangal populations are concentrated in the state’s valley while its tribal Naga and Kuki-Zomi population reside in the hills which make up 90 per cent of the state’s area, where there are special protections against the sale and purchase of lands. Similar restrictions do not exist on the sale of land to the state’s tribal population in the valley.

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“It is ironic that most powerful tribal leaders, politicians, businessmen, and village chiefs have created an imaginary threat perception that the valley people will go and settle there in the hill districts. On the other hand, these leaders have their properties in the valley areas and enjoy the benefits while the poor tribal people in the hills are not able to enjoy the same as the land belongs to the chiefs, few individuals, and community as per the customary law,” he wrote in a letter addressed to all the members of the Manipur Assembly.

Of the 60 MLAs in the state, 40 are from the valley – including Imo Singh – and 20 are tribal representatives from the hills.

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His appeal comes more than four months after violence first broke out in the state on May 3, following a rally by the All Tribal Students’ Union of Manipur opposing the longstanding demand that the Meitei community be included in the list of the state’s Scheduled Tribes (ST), a demand that is also driven by anxieties about land and demography.

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